By Robert Weinstock
SOFIA, Bulgaria — Outside hitter Kelly Kyle unleashed 14 kills to lead the United States to a 3-0 victory against Poland on Monday at Arena Armeec Sofia.
With the win in straight sets, 25-18, 25-10, 25-11, the USA improved to 4-0 in pool play and clinched a berth in the medal round.
The U.S. started slowly, falling behind by three points early in the first set. With the score tied at 9-9, Kelly Kyle made two spectacular digs, but the team lost the point. Poland had a service error, tying the game at 10-all.
Ludmila Mounty-Weinstock served five straight points, with Jessica Israel contributing a block and a kill, to put the U.S. ahead, 15-10. Poland was able to close the deficit to one point, 17-16, but Pia Marie Paulone served four points to put the set out of reach, and Kate Fetzer ended the set with one of her trademark aces.
Ann Whited served five straight points to begin the second set. With Kyle and Mounty-Weinstock earning two kills each, the Americans raced to a 13-4 lead.
Fetzer recorded two service aces in rapid succession and Kyle, Mounty-Weinstock, and Katelyn Reese each had three kills in the set.
Kyle dominated the third set with eight of her 14 kills, while Mounty-Weinstock and Whited had two each.
Kyle then served a booming ace to close out the set and match.
Mounty-Weinstock and Reese each had six kills; Israel had five. On defense, Paulone contributed 16 assists, and Sarah Tubert had 15. Whited and Paulone had three digs apiece, followed by four players with two each. Reese had one block solo and two block assists. Fetzer had three of the team’s nine aces, and Tubert served up two.
The team reduced its number of service errors, and its overall attack percentage was significantly higher than in its three previous matches.
The United States faces Italy, its final pool opponent, at 3 p.m. (8 a.m.) Tuesday at Arena Armeec Sofia.